Step through the threshold of department stores like Target or Wal-Mart and you find yourself transported to a time that is not your own.
When snow slicks the parking lot, frost glazes the windshields, and little kids turn into wobbling, wind-resistant cocoons with eyes-- inside these capsules of consumerism you will discover a land of bright bikinis... beach bags... charcoal grills and swizzle sticks.
Or in the steamy days of summer, when sweat runs in rivulets and the bra-straps of the populace get a good public airing-- inside the realm of retail, school supplies remind us darkly that freedom is fleeting... hairy sweaters smother standing displays... and, wait-- is that a faint jingle of sleigh bells we hear underlying the Muzak?
How is this possible?
Well, yes, of course you could say that it's corporate greed, plain and simple.
But do these manufacturing giants really believe that we will stand shivering in a changing room, swimsuit pressed against pasty-white, with the taste of Christmas fruitcake still lingering on our hips... er, lips?
Do they really believe we'll have an itch to shrug into that 100% wool sweater while the chlorine from Sandcastle Water Park still scents our skin?
I think it's proof of the existence of Doctor Who.
Yep. The way I see it, Target's mysterious seasonal shift forward is actually an unfortunate residue resulting from repeated alien invasion of the planet and resetting of the space-time continuum, to protect our human minds!...
Months of oppression under evil extra-terrestrial overlords!...
And the good Doctor, putting things right for all of us and wiping our minds clean of the terrors once more.
Ever feel like you've been working at the same stupid stuff for months, even though you know it couldn't possibly be that long?
Ever feel like you're life's at a complete stand-still, and you're going nowhere, and you don't know where your motivation went?
Well, there you go! That's the effects of Repeated Earthling Enslavement and Time-Foolery!
And while the Doctor is clearly very, very good at what he does... Unfortunately, he just hasn't figured out how to set shop inventory back to the correct season.
It's truly the only decent theory that explains why stores would believe I'd be interested in snow boots and a shovel for the Fourth of July.
Still unconvinced? Well, just you walk around your favorite department store this weekend, and see if there isn't something to this.
Resistance is futile, you know. Time for a nice big cup of hot cocoa. And pass me that gingerbread man, would you?
Today's questions: What's the most surprising off-season item you spotted in stores? And have you ever bought something totally off-season for later?
Also-- is it me, or is Christmas now starting somewhere in September? Didn't it used to be after Thanksgiving?